Athletics

Sharks explode to put out Flames' playoff hopes

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Sharks explode to put out Flames' playoff hopes

March 23, 2011

BOX SCORE SHARKS VIDEONHLPAGE NHLSCOREBOARD
SAN JOSE (AP) Patrick Marleau has scored more goals than anyone in San Jose history so seeing him score twice was no surprise for the Sharks. Getting the first two-goal game of Torrey Mitchell's career and the first goal ever from Andrew Desjardins was a different story.Marleau scored the final two goals in San Jose's four-goal first period and Mitchell also scored twice as the Sharks closed in on second place in the Western Conference by beating the sliding Calgary Flames 6-3 on Wednesday night."It's great to have everybody contribute," Marleau said. "We'll need more of that coming down the stretch. It's the way we're built and it's the way things should happen. Everybody should have fun scoring goals."
VIDEO: Patrick Marleau postgame
Logan Couture also scored as the Pacific Division-leading Sharks got goals from all four lines to win their fourth straight game. San Jose increased its division lead over Phoenix to three points with a game at hand.
VIDEO: Logan Couture postgame
San Jose is also only one point behind Detroit for second in the conference and home-ice advantage in the first two rounds after the Red Wings lost 2-1 to Vancouver earlier Wednesday."We knew they had lost," forward Ryane Clowe said. "I don't know if that was extra motivation or anything. They're definitely in striking distance. We have an opportunity to jump into second and get that home ice. It gives us something to strive for right now. The way we're playing we have a good chance to pass them."
VIDEO: Ryane Clowe postgame
The Sharks dealt another blow to the Flames' playoff hopes. Calgary got goals from Jarome Iginla, Rene Bourque and Cory Sarich, but lost for the sixth time in seven games.The Flames are two points behind Anaheim for eighth place in the West, but have played three more games than the Ducks, giving them little room for error in their final six games."We've been in a little bit of a rut in our last five or six games," Iginla said. "We're not coming out and playing as confident or assertive as we need to. In the first period to give up four goals is not going to win you many games. It's unacceptable. Obviously it's a tough loss at this time of year."Calgary's previous two losses came in overtime, but the Flames were unable to earn a point in this game. They trailed 5-3 heading into the third. After an early fight between Clowe and Sarich provided a little excitement, Antti Niemi came up with key saves. The Sharks then put it away midway through the period.Couture, who had to be helped off the ice with a scary right leg injury in San Jose's previous game, beat Miikka Kiprusoff on a 2-on-1 break for his 28th goal with 8:05 remaining.Niemi made 22 saves to get the victory in his 29th consecutive start.The teams traded goals in the second period as the Sharks maintained the two-goal lead they held after the first. Bourque beat Niemi with a backhand, wraparound midway through the period to draw the Flames within one.But Calgary fell back behind by two when Mitchell got to a loose puck after a scramble in front of the net and knocked it in for his ninth goal of the season with 6:40 left in the period. Mitchell has five goals in seven games after scoring just 16 in his first 189 as he has clicked on a line with Joe Pavelski and Kyle Wellwood."It's amazing when you start to feel it and you feel comfortable and confident on the ice, things happen for you," coach Todd McLellan said.
VIDEO: Todd McLellan postgame
The Sharks used their highest-scoring first period in more than two years to jump out to a 4-2 lead. The teams alternated on the first four goals before Marleau struck with two in the final 5:01 to give San Jose the lead.On the first he raced to a loose puck near the blue line and beat his former San Jose teammate, Kiprusoff, with a backhand for his 30th of the season and 350th in his career. Marleau added his second less than 3 minutes later when he knocked a rebound into the open net for a power-play goal with Alex Tanguay in the box for holding.The four goals were the most in a first period for San Jose since also scoring four against Toronto on Dec. 2, 2008."We got off our game and fundamentally had some breakdowns," Flames coach Brent Sutter said. "They took advantage of it. They are a very good hockey team. We can't play that way for the rest of the season."Notes: San Jose's final eight games of the season will be against division foes, including three against Phoenix. ... Calgary D Jay Bouwmeester played in his 500th consecutive game, the longest current streak in the league. ... Flames F Greg Nemisz, a first-round pick in 2008, made his NHL debut and was on the ice for San Jose's first two goals.

Bruce Maxwell: Kneeling for anthem not 'disrespecting my country or my flag'

Bruce Maxwell: Kneeling for anthem not 'disrespecting my country or my flag'

OAKLAND — Bruce Maxwell’s gesture to take a knee during the national anthem Saturday night at the Coliseum was no knee-jerk reaction by the A’s catcher.

It was something he’s considered for a long time, balancing his own personal convictions to make a statement with how it might affect his teammates and organization.

Think it was bold of Maxwell to become the first player in baseball to kneel during the anthem, in protest of racial discrimination and the inflammatory remarks of President Trump? It took just as much guts to stand before his teammates, manager Bob Melvin and GM David Forst and explain why he felt he needed to do it.

He did so in a pregame meeting Saturday that made for a degree of discomfort in the room, but also seemed to have played out in a healthy way.

“I didn’t want them to sugarcoat or aid me when it comes to the media and their personal feelings,” Maxwell said, “because the whole point of this is the ability to protest (based on) our personal beliefs and our personal choices.”

Many athletes have been critical of the President, with things intensifying across the sports landscape Saturday after Trump, among other things, withdrew an invitation for the Warriors to visit the White House and harshly criticized athletes who have knelt during the anthem, saying they should be booted off their teams.

After blasting Trump on both Instagram and Twitter, Maxwell took the field for the anthem and took the action that will define him in the eyes of the baseball world. Maxwell had been wanting to make a statement in some way. He said he and his sister dealt with racial discrimination growing up. Watching Trump’s rally play out in his hometown of Huntsville, Ala. on Friday further persuaded Maxwell to finally do so.

“This goes beyond the black community, it goes beyond the Hispanic community, because right now we’re having … a racial divide in all types of people,” said Maxwell, who is African American. “It’s being practiced from the highest power we have in this country and it’s basically saying it’s OK to treat people differently. And my kneeling, the way I did it, was to symbolize the fact that I’m kneeling for a cause. But I’m in no way or form disrespecting my country or my flag.”

A’s outfielder Mark Canha stood next to Maxwell during the anthem with his hand on Maxwell’s shoulder, a show of support. Canha said he’s considered kneeling before in protest himself but had chosen not to. As he listened to Maxwell address the team, Canha wasn’t going to let his teammate make his statement on his own.

“I could tell he was getting kind of choked up and emotional about his beliefs and how he feels about the racial discrimination that’s going on in this country right now,” Canha said. “I felt like every fiber of my being was telling me that he needed a brother today.”

Canha added that he sensed some “discomfort” in the room as Maxwell addressed the team. But he also said there was support.

“It was an open forum to ask him questions. It was as articulate as I’ve seen him,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “This wasn’t an emotional thing just today for him. … I think he handled it really well and everybody was comfortable after the session. I’m proud of him for the fact he went about it the way he did.”

Maxwell, who was born in Germany while his father served in the Army over there, said he will continue to kneel for the anthem. He doesn’t expect his teammates to do the same, only to stick to what they believe in.

“I have plenty of family members, including my father, who have bled for this country,” Maxwell said. “At the end of the day, this the best country on the planet. My hand over my heart symbolized that I am, and will forever be, an American citizen. But my kneeling is what’s getting the attention because I’m kneeling for the people that don't have a voice.”

Madison Bumgarner, Gorkys Hernandez make statements in win over Dodgers

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Madison Bumgarner, Gorkys Hernandez make statements in win over Dodgers

LOS ANGELES — A 2-1 victory Saturday night at Dodger Stadium all but assured that the Giants will not lose 100 games. They still could, sure, because any sort of downslide is possible in this 2017 season, but they would really have to finish with some sort of ugly stretch. 

Still, it’s been a long season, so it was no surprise when Madison Bumgarner admitted to some sleepless nights since Opening Day. As for Saturday night …

“It’s going to be much easier to go to sleep tonight, because we won,” Bumgarner said.

The big lefty did the heavy lifting, throwing 7 2/3 dominant innings and offering one more reminder that his shoulder is 100 percent fine after a season-halting dirt bike accident. Bumgarner topped out at 93.5 mph, and even though Bruce Bochy thought Dodger Stadium might have had a hot gun on this night, the swings told the story of a good fastball. Bumgarner said this was as good as he has felt in a while. 

“He did look strong,” Bochy said. “He did have really good stuff tonight. It was really crisp.”

It was the kind of night that reminds you that, for all their issues, the Giants will start 2018 with a leg up on many others. They have Madison Bumgarner and you don’t, and that should lead to plenty of good over the course of 32 or 33 starts. 

“I think it’s good for the club to know, hey, he’s back,” Bochy said. “This is the kind of ball we can play.”

It was the brand Bochy appreciates: A strong start, a good bullpen, strong defense, and just enough offense. That’s how the Giants will win in 2018, if they are to do so, which bodes well for the man at the center of Saturday’s offense. The Giants plan to move Denard Span to left field and acquire a new center fielder, but they still lack depth in the organization, and Gorkys Hernandez has made it clear he would like to stick around. He had three hits — including two doubles — and a walk, scoring both Giants runs. 

After a slow start that almost got him released, Hernandez took off over the summer, providing a high average and sparkling defense at three spots. A left wrist tendon issue has slowed him in September, but he surprised the staff by being available for the final two weeks of games, and he said he’ll play through the end of the year before considering any rehab options 

“He certainly has made a statement,” Bochy said. “He’s one of our better athletes. He can play anywhere in the outfield, and what’s impressive is how he’s come on with the bat. A kid like this that plays defense the way he can, and shows he can do some things with the bat, he’s in the mix.”

Hernandez said he loves playing in San Francisco. He intends to spend his offseason getting healthy at his home in Scottsdale before competing for an outfield job. 

“Every time Bochy puts me in the lineup I’m trying to show everyone that I can be here and that I can be part of this team for a long time,” he said.